Caracas, Venezuela – Three more people were reported killed in Venezuela’s political unrest as both supporters and opponents of President Nicolas Maduro took to the streets in new shows of force Saturday.
More than 30 people have been killed during five weeks of clashes between protesters and security forces who are sometimes joined by motorcycle-riding civilians loyal to Maduro’s socialist government. Hundreds more have been wounded and arrested.
The threat of violence didn’t deter tens of thousands of anti-government activists from marching peacefully in Caracas and other cities Saturday to demand an end to the use of force against dissents by what opponents have taken to calling Maduro’s “dictatorship.”
Pope assembles abuse committee
Vatican City – Pope Francis on Saturday filled the initial positions of a committee against child abuse, which he had announced in December to tackle pedophilia scandals within the Catholic Church.
Francis chose a mixed team of eight prelates and lay experts. They will have to draw up the statutes of the new panel, setting its tasks and competences, and recruit new members from around the world, the Vatican said in a statement.
Boston Archbishop Sean Patrick O’Malley – one of the eight cardinals who advises the pope on wider church reforms, and who has been at the forefront of efforts to clean up the U.S. church after cases of child abuse – was the most senior appointee.
Jesuit Fathers Humberto Miguel Yanez of Argentina and Hans Zollner from Germany were also picked. Both are theology professors at the Vatican’s Gregorian University, where Zollner organized a historic 2012 seminar on child sexual abuse.
Finally, the pope tapped Irish campaigner Marie Collins, French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet, former Polish premier and human rights expert Hanna Suchocka, British Baroness and mental health specialist Sheila Collins, and Italian canon law professor Claudio Papale.
Three Palestinians die in morning raid
Jenin, West Bank – Israeli troops killed three Palestinians in an early morning raid that was followed by a clash with angry protesters in a West Bank town on Saturday, the military and Palestinian security officials said, in the deadliest incident in months.
The violence came amid a recent spike in clashes in the West Bank that could complicate the already troubled peace efforts as the sides near an April deadline set under U.S.-sponsored talks.
Saturday’s incident started with an Israeli raid, which the military said aimed to arrest Hamza Abu el-Heija, a 22-year-old Hamas operative wanted for involvement in shooting and bombing attacks against Israelis.